Cuban-born jazz pianist Omar Sosa has already played on various projects with world musicians from all around the globe, often travelling outside the standard of jazz traditions. In his last album he joined the efforts with the Senegalese drummer, vocalist and kora player Seckou Keita, who is today one of the most charismatic musicians from Africa .
The duo has released a beautiful album, Transparent Water, which sees contributions from other musicians from the most disparate areas of the world with their characteristics musical instruments: we have among the Others the Japanese koto player Mieko Miyazaki, the Chinese sheng player Wu Tong, and Venezuelan percussionist and batá player Gustavo Ovalles. But like magic, what may seem at first a chaotic mix of sounds, influences and instruments, is here transformed into a celebration of simplicity and an ode to the very essence of music. The experience of listening to this beautiful album is really a journey through sounds and enchanting melodies, with the different musical traditions which manage to complement each other providing the listener with varied nuances of the same basic tune.
Each of these very different artists come from deep traditions that border more on classical music than folk, which might account for the rather compositional feel of the work. There’s little emphasis on the improvisation or syncopation you’d expect from Sosa or Keita. Instead everyone is focused on fitting together seamlessly around a melody, often a gentle, sung refrain (Paste)
Those keen on analysis will be tempted to try to break this music down to its component parts, disentangle instruments, and assign strict definitions to what’s happening here. That’s not advised. Part of the magic in Sosa’s music has always been his ability to operate behind the curtain, working the seam where music and magic coexist (All About Jazz)
Guerino’s rating: 8 / 10.